6:30 Start 7:00 REM
10:00 Belle and Sebastian
11:00 Floating Points
12:00 Laura Marling
13:00 Unknown Mortal Orchestra
14:00 Wolf Alice
Early start today for a long drive to Antigua. The alarm goes off at 5:00, we’re departing at 6:00. To add to our enjoyment there is no electricity and very little water – hot or cold – so we wash minimally, pack and dress in the dark.
We manage to get everything together and we’re in reception at 5:50, just in time for a quick coffee before the water taxi takes us to the bus.
We’re on the road by 6:30, if we’re lucky we’ll be in Antigua by 2:00pm – it all depends on the roadworks and the traffic. The first few hours are uneventful, we stop for a basic but tasty breakfast of eggs, beans and cheese. As we get into the hills the scenery gets more interesting, deep green valleys below us, the hilltops in the clouds.
Things slow down as we approach Guatemala City, we aren’t stopping here, from what we see of it this isnt a bad thing. It’s a big and sprawling city of about 5m people with only a few high rise buildings downtown. We cross high over a valley, single story houses cascade down the sides, looking very much like Rio’s favelas.
We’re quite lucky with the traffic and arrive at our hotel soon after 2pm. Antigua is immediately attractive, cobbled streets, low colourful buildings.
Antigua was the third Conquistador capital of Guatemala, it served as the seat of Government from 1543 until a number of major earthquakes in the 18th Century led to the creation of a new Capital – now Guatemala City. At this time the Spanish state of Guatemala included almost all of Central America and the south of present day Mexico. The city is surrounded by volcanos, one of which is still active.
We walk the streets randomly for an hour, it’s attractive but very busy. It’s only a short drive from the capital and many people are still on holiday after Christmas. Through a gateway there are some floats for an Easter parade, including some fairly gruesome flailing and crucifixion scenes. We stop for a drink, I order a cappucino and watch in dismay as the barista adds instant coffee and powdered milk to a cup, pours in hot water then adds cream from a can on top. I tell him it’s not a cappuccino, i.e. espresso, hot milk. He insists it is – I pay the 80p and leave it on the counter. Down the street there’s a much better cafe, no problems with the macchiato there.
Walk further and come across a beautiful ruined church, damaged by the 17th Century earthquakes, I would love to get my tripod inside but unfortunately it’s locked because its unsafe.
Return to the hotel for a shower before dinner.